Review: Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

May 7, 2018 Book Review, Young Adult 12 ★★★★

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Onyx and IvoryOnyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 15th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
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They call her Traitor Kate. It’s a title Kate Brighton inherited from her father after he tried to assassinate the high king years ago. Now Kate lives as an outcast, clinging to the fringes of society as a member of the Relay, the imperial courier service. Only those most skilled in riding and bow hunting ride for the Relay; and only the fastest survive, for when dark falls, the nightdrakes—deadly flightless dragons—come out to hunt. Fortunately, Kate has a secret edge: she is a wilder, born with magic that allows her to influence the minds of animals. But it’s this magic that she needs to keep hidden, as being a wilder is forbidden, punishable by death or exile. And it’s this magic that leads her to a caravan massacred by nightdrakes in broad daylight—the only survivor her childhood friend, her first love, the boy she swore to forget, the boy who broke her heart.

The high king’s second son, Corwin Tormane, never asked to lead. Even as he waits for the uror—the once-in-a-generation ritual to decide which of the king’s children will succeed him—he knows it’s always been his brother who will assume the throne. And that’s fine by him. He’d rather spend his days away from the palace, away from the sight of his father, broken with sickness from the attempt on his life. But the peacekeeping tour Corwin is on has given him too much time to reflect upon the night he saved his father’s life—the night he condemned the would-be killer to death and lost the girl he loved. Which is why he takes it on himself to investigate rumors of unrest in one of the remote city-states, only for his caravan to be attacked—and for him to be saved by Kate.

With their paths once more entangled, Kate and Corwin have to put the past behind them. The threat of drakes who attack in the daylight is only the beginning of a darker menace stirring in the kingdom—one whose origins have dire implications for Kate’s father’s attack upon the king and will thrust them into the middle of a brewing civil war in the kingdom of Rime.

Though I’ve had a few Mindee Arnett novels on my tbr before, it was Onyx and Ivory and it’s exciting concept that finally led me to pick up one of her novels and I’m so glad I did!

There was so much to love about this world building. The book tells a story of the kingdom of Rime where magic exists. The main type of magic is used by magists who use their powers by imbuing objects to help with healing, protecting their lands, and other things. And then there are the wilders who can directly affect the elements, only this type of magic is forbidden and those with it are hunted down. I’m such a huge fan of magic, especially when the elements come into play. Our main character, Kate, has the ability to communicate with animals, which is pretty awesome, right? Of course we meet many other wilders and magists and I found the whole concept of what is acceptable and what isn’t to be quite fascinating, especially as we learn the reasons behind the divide and see the devastation it causes not only Kate but many others as well.

Kate was a fantastic character. She has had a tough life – hiding what she can do and then losing her father when he is accused of attempting to murder the king. People can be so cruel to her, calling her Traitor Kate, and we get to witness some of that hate spewed her way and it really made me feel for her. But she is such a strong character who tries to keep her chin up through it all. She has this strong sense of self that only grows throughout the book. She is pretty badass at taking down the nightdrakes, flightless dragon type creatures, that hunt down people in packs at night. And when a new species emerges in the daytime, she wants answers, especially when they attack not only her but Corwin, who was once so much more to her than just the prince.

I loved Corwin. I loved the complicated nature to his relationship with Kate. They were so close before the situation between their fathers occurred and it’s obvious he still has strong feelings for her when their worlds collide once again. They have some awkward interactions but also plenty of sweet ones as well. One of my favorite parts of the novel is the concept of how he has to compete with his brother to earn the right of the crown and how the competition starts with a sign of a uror – a magical animal appearing half black and half white. We have only just started with this part of the story and I cannot wait to see how it evolves in the next book!

There are quite a few secondary characters that are equally as amazing. Bonner is another wilder and an amazing friend to Kate. Signe is probably my favorite. She is the free spirit type who likes to tell elaborate stories and you never know what is real and not with her but one thing you do know is how determined and fiercely protective she is of her friends and her secrets no matter the cost. We meet some amazing wilders and magists that play an important part of the war to come and I for one am all for it!

The story gets so much bigger than just Kate and Corwin and the problem that plague them individually. There is a war brewing between those with this forbidden magic fighting for their right to live and those who want to imprison them for it. By the end I found this theme emerging that laws aren’t always meant to be fixed. The world changes and we as people must change with it and I found that so moving and relevant to the real life world.

Onyx and Ivory is a long one and even though it took awhile to get through, I found it completely worth it. So tuck in and enjoy the adventure with this one! I’ll be over here anxiously awaiting the sequel!

About Mindee Arnett

Mindee Arnett is the author of the critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller Avalon as well as the Arkwell Academy series and the upcoming Onyx and Ivory. An avid eventer, she lives on a farm near Dayton, Ohio with her husband, two kids, and assorted animals. When not telling tales of magic, the supernatural, or outer space, she can be found on a horse, trying to jump anything that will stand still.

A literacy advocate, Mindee is available for school and library visits, both in person and online, as well as writing workshops for both teens and adults.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

12 Responses to “Review: Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett”

  1. Verushka

    This cover has been one that has stuck in my mind since I first saw it, and it seems like it really is one of those ones that holds up to the promise in the blurb. I am so curious to see the details of the story and how it got bigger, because what you said about finding it moving really stuck with me.

  2. Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra

    Kate sounds like my kind of character! And I love it when a book has a great cast of secondary characters too. I wasn’t familiar with this author or this series so thanks for putting them on my radar 🙂

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